May 192012
 
Pattypan squash is what is known as a summer squash – all parts of it are edible, including the skin and seeds. There are TONS of benefits from eating this delicious squash. It’s full of vitamin C and A and specific antioxidants that are wonderful protection for macular degeneration and cataracts. It is great for regulating blood sugar due to the large supply of many B-complex vitamins.
Summer squash has anti-inflammatory benefits and provides excellent prostate health support. There are even anti-cancer properties due to the mixture of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that neutralize oxidative stress.
Summer squashes are among a family of plants called Cucurbitaceae and their relatives are cucumbers, winter squashes like pumpkins and melons, such as watermelons!
Of course, the best and most nutritious way to eat these little guys is raw.  I have an awesome Veggie Pasta Salad – perfect for a pot luck – that uses these squashes raw.  In fact, I think I need to do a recipe re-do as that was one of my favs. 
Steaming is the best way to cook summer squashes for maximum nutrient preservation.  There is new evidence that the squashes still retain many of their antioxidants after steaming.  In this case I grilled them, however, the cook time is still short and we don’t have water leaching the nutrients so I consider this the second best method of preparation.
For both zucchini and squash the best way to preserve if you have a huge abundance is to slice and “steam blanch” or quick steam for about three minutes, and then freeze on parchment paper on trays in the freezer and then place into freezer safe bags, pressing as much as the air out as possible. They will loose their firm texture once thawed; however, they will still retain most of their antioxidants.
Do keep in mind that summer squashes are high in oxalates.   High concentrations of oxalates in the body MAY contribute to kidney stones, so be sure to vary the veggies in your diet.   A CSA/Farm share is the PERFECT way to do this as you will get a much wider variety of veggies than you would normally buy.  
I have read that the best way to store these squashes is in a airtight container in the fridge, however, if you get them from KYV farm please keep them on the counter. They will last MUCH longer.   I found that in the fridge they will begin to get soft and grow little pits whereas on the counter they stay smooth and firm.

 

As for the interesting history of summer squashes, scientists found the seeds preserved in Mexican caves for over 10,000 years.  All the way back then people were already cultivating these veggies!
For anyone on a meatless diet, this is an awesome recipe for when you’re craving something heartier.  The bacon tempeh was surprisingly similar to the taste of bacon-though not the texture.  The texture is  a bit softer; however, grilling gives it that crisp outside that I missed when giving up bacon.  I used quinoa as a replacement for a grain, it is mild and a tad nutty and, since it is a seed, very high in protein-making this dish even more filling and satisfying.  The onions are super sweet when grilled and the squashes make for a perfect appetizer for a party or vegan option for a cookout.

 Grilled Pattypan Squash Stuffed with Bacon Tempeh, Quinoa, Vegan Cheese and Onions

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free



Ingredients


4 pattypan squash
1 package bacon tempeh
1 cup cooked quinoa
½ cup shredded vegan cheese
2 onions
Cajun Seasoning, to taste


Options
Splash of balsamic vinegar
Parsley to garnish


Directions


1. Preheat grill to medium high. Cut pattypan squash width-wise through the center and slice onions; spray veggies and tempeh with cooking spray; place on grill. Cook until outsides of squash and onions char, about 5 minutes, turn and grill an additional 5 minutes or until center of squash is soft.

2. Once tempeh is heated through, remove from grill and place in a medium bowl with quinoa and cheese; mix well. Remove squash and onions from grill; scoop centers of squash out and mix with tempeh mixture. Chop onions and mix in as well. Stuff mixture into hollowed out squash.


Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving


Calories 247.4
Total Fat 5.3 g
Saturated Fat 1.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 369.3 mg
Potassium 361.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 34.1 g
Dietary Fiber 8.0 g
Sugars 6.5 g
Protein 13.7 g

Vitamin A 0.0 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 2.0 %
Vitamin C 49.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 0.2 %
Calcium 37.0 %
Copper 1.1 %
Folate 1.7 %
Iron 17.0 %
Magnesium 17.8 %
Manganese 2.4 %
Niacin 1.5 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.4 %
Phosphorus 53.0 %
Riboflavin 42.9 %
Selenium 0.3 %
Thiamin 1.0 %
Zinc 0.9 %




*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

**Post information sourced from Worlds Healthiest Foods

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